Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Posts Tagged relationships

Ways You Can Live The Tiny Life Now

Many of you have been following me in my journey to The Tiny Life for a while now.  While I tend to focus on the building and design of tiny houses, what I have come to realize is that even though its fun to talk about the houses and how to build them, it really isn’t about the houses, it’s about the life you lead in them.  In an odd way, its not the house that is so great, its the life that is amazing.

Recently I was thinking about this fact as I was re-reading my book that just released (find it here) and I realized that in many ways you can still live tiny, without a tiny house at all.  So here are some ways you can live The Tiny Life right now.

Learn To Say No

ba7688b4e4a544d65380ef9bc19087a9In this world saying no is almost unheard of.  We often either get pulled into things we really don’t want to do or we say non-committal things like “Let me get back to you” when you hope they never follow up.  One thing I’ve learned is important is when there is something that I am not interested in participating in or doing, I just clearly decline and make no apologies for it.  Be willing to say no, you don’t have to be rude, but be clear, “Honestly, I’m just not interested in it” or “I don’t have the time to do a good job with this, so I’ll have to pass, thanks.”

Proactively Remove Negative Influences And Sources Of Stress

I have had two people that really shaped this rule for me in my life:  I once worked with a person who always had some sort of drama in their life, no matter how good things were, there was always some catastrophe happening.  The second one was when I found myself in a situation where I had to regularly interact with someone who frankly was just a really terrible human being; they were manipulative, easily moved to violence, and had a lot of self destructive behaviors that they inflicted on others.

It taught me a valuable lesson, there are people or situations that you must actively work to remove yourself from.  If they cause stress, unhappiness, or cause drama in your life, you need to get them out of your life.  This goes for friends too.  I will only put in effort into relationships that I feel the other person equally values me.  There have been times where I have had friends who were flaky, always late, or didn’t ever develop into a deeper platonic relationship that I just let go and let them peter out.

Thin Your Email In Box

inbox_zeroOne thing I have learned with running this website is how to handle a lot of email effectively.  I have developed a few rules that I abide by to make it easier.  I realized that I don’t want to be efficient with email, but instead I have worked hard to reduce the email volume, which I must be efficient in handling.  Spending an hour to help setup a system where people can find their answer on their own, has come back 100 fold.  Think of how you could do the same in your life or situation, just adapt it.

  1. Realize your email inbox is a convenient way for other people to organize their agenda.
  2. Always think about how you can reduce the volume of emails you get.
  3. Always to clearly define the next needed action, otherwise close the loop on that email.
  4. If they don’t ask a question, it isn’t actionable or are not clear in message, don’t respond.
  5. Set up email filters for things that you get often or as a way to segment different areas of your life.
  6. If its a newsletter that I find myself not reading regularly, I unsubscribe right away. I can always add myself back.
  7. If they ask for something I often follow up with a request to do a small task (want to talk? I ask for an agenda) this weeds out people

Define You Career By The Life You Want To Lead, Not The Other Way Around

Your job/career should support and accommodate the life you want to lead, not the other way around.  To do this you must first know what life you want.  It is easy to fall in the trap of letting your career dictate the life you lead (work schedules, vacations, soul crushing activities),

I’ve been there myself and there are times where you just need a job to pay the bills.  So if you are in a tight spot, get a income source, but once you have gained that stabilizing income, you must then quickly move to a more proactive place where you either morph your job to be what you need or start looking for / building your perfect job that accommodates your life.

I once took a job that I knew I would hate, but I realized that it would buy me just enough time (3-6 months) of income to allow me to find the job that I really wanted.  It meant that I could walk away from offers that weren’t great and hold out for a better one, at that point I really didn’t have anything to lose.

The Pareto Principle

This is more commonly known as the 80/20 rule which states that 80% of the outcome or effect comes from 20% of the cause.  For example, 80% of the happiness comes from 20% of the people in your life, because they are the most important people to you.  On the flip side, 20% of your time spent at work actually yields 80% of your income.

The trick with this rule is to identify that 20% that causes the 80% and if its good, focus on it; if it is bad, eliminate it.   So in the instance of something good, say relationships, spend 80% of your time on the top 20% of your relationships.  Conversely, if 80% of customers complaints at work come from 20% of your customers, break it off with them.

Learn To Slow Down, But Be Intentional

excuseI’ve learned over the past two years that I can be far more productive if I am intentional.  I have had so many people in my professional life say to me that I always seem laid back, but get a ton done.  The truth is I do a lot less work then them, but when I do work, it is calculated.  I actively work to minimize what is on my plate instead of working longer hours to get an overloaded to do list done.  I think about what I can do that is most effective and then how I can achieve it most efficiently.  Finally anything I do more than a few times, I look for ways to automate.

So when it comes time for me to do something, I have the time to do it correctly, I have worked out the best way to do it, and then in many cases I have automated it so I don’t have to worry about it at all.

 

So these are just some of the ways you can start living The Tiny Life now, even if you don’t live in a tiny house just yet.

 

Your Turn!

  • What things have you done or do to live The Tiny Life?

 

5 Reasons You Should Date A Tiny House Person

Over the past few weeks I have been doing interviews of tiny house people for a secret project I’ve been working on and from it sparked an idea for a post!  After talking with a ton of tiny house people I have come to see quite a few commonalities and these made me think…  So here is the top 5 reasons you should date a tiny house person.

1. Tiny House People Are Awesome People

I say this all the time and its because it’s true, by in large people who live in tiny houses and even those that are interested in the tiny house movement are really amazing people.  There is just a lot of things that they just intuitively get about our world and different things in it.  They are really nice, very chill people who are just like you and me, but they always seem really friendly and happy people.

2. Tiny House People Make Better Lovers

299105_2237701427665_1194569782_nTiny house people have moved into a tiny house because they have realized one thing: there are more important things in life other than their material possessions.  Namely relationships.  We have decided to remove ourselves from the material world and focus on the people around us.  We are doubling down and saying “you matter to me”.

Now when it comes to adult time in tiny houses, because we all know that’s what you were thinking about, it means that we have to get creative make the extra effort to pull it off in that small little loft.  Or we might be seeking some more exotic locals, whatever it is just know, we’re up to the challenge.

3. We Got The Money Thing Down

The number one reason cited for divorces is money.  It’s a very sad thing, but it is a reality of this world we live in.  When you live in a tiny house you have removed the largest expense most married or serious dating couples have to face: rent or mortgage.  Instead of paying crazy amounts to the bank each month, we have been banking it and it helps smooth out life’s ups and downs so that they don’t really impact us anymore.

4. We Are Passionate People

Quote-Find-your-PassionYou meet a tiny house person, they are passionate people in general.   If it wasn’t enough that they said “I’m going to build a whole house, even if I have never swung a hammer before” and then did it, they are often invested and driven about many other things in their life.  You should be so lucky that they become passionate about loving you!

5. We Know Ourselves, So We Know What We Need

Many times when a relationship ends it is because we thought that person was the right mix of things, but ended up not being.  Tiny house people have a way of packing in a lot of life, even if they haven’t been living for that long.  We have come to know and understand ourselves very well and by living in a tiny house we have had to defend that against people who are critical of the life we lead.

When you know yourself, you know that you are an amazing person and for the most part you don’t need anyone else.  You are self sufficient, heck you just built a whole house on your own!  So when it comes to relationship you don’t need that other person, you want that person, which is a powerful thing.  Since you value relationships, you know what you need to put into a relationship and what you need to get out of one for you to harmonize with it.

 

So that is the top 5 reasons you should date a tiny house person.  So there are 5 more reasons other than they live in an awesome tiny house!

Relationships: The Art of Tiny Living

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Lots of folks talk about utility and organization of physical space when it comes to living the tiny life. This is absolutely essential to creating a home that truly meets our essential need for shelter but I’ve found less conversations when it comes to balancing the emotional and mental aspect of relationships in a small space. I thought it might be helpful to discuss the ways that Cedric and I have been learning to navigate tiny living and ensuring the health and stability of our long-term, romantic relationship.

Designing private and communal space.

When designing La Casita, privacy was a big issue. We were trying to figure out how in the world we were going to create communal and private space in such a tiny structure! Cedric and I both believe it’s essential to have these designated areas to sustain a healthy relationship. At first, we tried to build two separate rooms downstairs but there was so much wasted space in the design we ended up tearing it all out and starting over! It was a tough decision but ultimately the best one.

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In our original plans we had an open loft space but after realizing we weren’t going to be able to separate the space downstairs, we decided the loft would be closed off. This has done wonders for our need for alone time. When one of us is in the loft, it feels like a completely isolated, cozy place that you can relax, read, work, meditate, write letters or take a nap. When one person is downstairs and one up, you get a feeling of separation that allows us to recharge and, in the case of a disagreement or high emotions, a sanctuary to cool off.

Open, honest communication.

Before Cedric and I moved in to La Casita, we decided to take a workshop on Non-Violent Communication.  Non-Violent Communication is a method developed by psychologist Marshall Rosenberg that focuses on reconnecting ourselves with our compassionate nature, even under the most trying of circumstances. It implements a non-judgmental, non-accusatory structure of expressing feelings and needs. You can’t hide from issues in anvc home the size of many people’s garden sheds! It’s absolutely impossible and if you try, conflict will quickly escalate. Cedric and I are constantly working on hearing each other compassionately and meeting each other’s needs and it is not without challenges but I’ve found that living the tiny life benefits our relationship in that we can’t let things fester. We have to face the issues that crop up.  Working on our relationship this way creates a continued emotional closeness necessary to living in such close physical proximity.

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What Will You Trade For A Day Of Your Life?

The other night my good friend Macy Miller from Minimotives.com posted a quote that really made me stop and think real hard.  Here it is…

What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.

The quote struck me hard because on that day, while I did get some stuff done for this website, I was largely not doing anything productive or intersting.  Now there are times where not doing anything is exactly what you need, so in its essence, it has value because it is restorative or therapeutic.  However this day was not one of those days.  I read this quote and felt that today was a day not used well.

So I took some time and thought on this concept.

  • What is valuable enough in my life that I would exchange a part of my life for it?
  • Who are the people that are valuable enough in my life to spend it with?
  • If something isn’t worth this gift of a day, then what should instead replace it with?

Think about this for a moment.  Really think about it.

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To get an idea of how much we don’t consider this factor in our lives, consider this.  Assuming a person was to live to the age of 80 (national average life expectancy is 78.6 in the USA), the average American spends:

  • 10 years at work
  • 13 years watching TV
  • 2.7 years commuting
  • 2.5 year shopping
  • Total: 28.2 years

When you consider this question: what is valuable enough to give a day of your life?  Then consider the fact that we spend a large part of our life doing these things listed.  Is it worth it?

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Now we obviously need to balance some of these things with reality.  To some degree we need to work to support ourselves, but if we were in a Tiny House, then how much could we cut down or do that job that we always wanted to, but it didn’t pay enough.  We need to eat, so some shopping is inevitable.

The time we spend watching TV is what really got me.  I don’t have cable, but I do like to watch some shows online through streaming.  My gut reaction was to stop watching some of the shows, but I think there too, there are some shows that are compelling and creative enough that in moderation, they can be beneficial for your imagination, relaxation time etc.

So today ask yourself what is worth giving a part of your life for, you might be surprised how your priorities change or reaffirm.